How to teach kids to put on their own jackets

Ah, the wisdom of preschool teachers. If you've never seen the "magic jacket trick" that helps kids put their jackets on by themselves, Kim spells it out:

I think preschoolers learn this in class, but the younger toddlers can do it too. Tell your child that this is a "magic" trick place the jacket on the ground with inside facing up, arm holes closest to childs body at feet. Then have child put hands (up to forearms) in holes, and flip over head. Viola! Jacket be on!

Related: Curly no-tie shoelaces for toddlers' sneakers


  1. says

    I remember learning this way when I was in Montessori school for preschool and kindergarten. I am always surprised when little kids don’t know this trick. 3 more years and I can teach my little one.

  2. says

    We call it “tag to toes.” My 3 YO thought it would be funny to say “tag to toes, over it goes” as he tosses it over his head.

  3. says

    Yup, thats what my 2 kids learned. i don’t know if they learned it as a “magic trick”, but they do call it the “flip-a-roo” move. so cute! :P

  4. Rachel says

    My daughter hated the flip. Instead, she learned to hang the hood on her head and then put her arms through each sleeve.

  5. Daffodil says

    This is how Martin Sheen puts on a jacket even as an adult. (Of course, he doesn’t put it on the floor first, but he does flip it over his head.) Watch an old episode of the West Wing — he does this almost every episode.

  6. carmcitygirl says

    I just witnessed this at my daughter’s preschool this year. I was mortified. None of my older kids ever went to preschool. The last thing I want is for my child to put their clean coat on a potentially dirty floor and flip it over their head. This group of kids was in a hallway and they were knocking into their classmates. It was so unruly and dangerous, not the civilized behavior I want from my child.

  7. Eric says

    And, if you do it backwards (with the hood at the far end of the jacket) the hood ends up near their rear end, and they can run around pretending they’re bumblebees.

  8. K says

    Hrm, interesting. My girls never learned this way, but beginning around age 3 they’ve all been able to put on their own jackets and sweaters without direction from me. They know that you’ve gotta put your arm into the “other” armhole to get it on right. And they know that if you put your arm into “this” armhole instead of the “other” one, it’ll end up backwards, covering your tummy and chest. Only problem they have is sometimes they spin around in circles trying to chase that second sleeve.

  9. Mark says

    I’m with Carmcitygirl on this. We’d taught our daughter how to put her coat on before she started Montessori school and she was fine with it. We were shocked a few weeks into school when she started laying her coat on the floor and flipping it over.

  10. Maria Des Chambres says

    I do love people who randomly shout the name of musical instruments when they really mean ‘voila!’. :)

  11. nancy says

    hmmm. i keep finding comments on parenthacks that are disturbing. i feel like parents that don’t find a hack useful (ie. “unruly and dangerous, not the civilized behavior I want from my child”) should just keep the negativity to themselves. i had never heard of this one and i can’t imagine how putting on a jacket in a fun way could be uncivilized.

  12. snarflemarfle says

    Genius! I love this tip and have showed it to my three year old. He loves our little “magic trick” for putting on his jacket. As for putting his jacket on a dirty floor, they gotta get immune to germs some how!! =)